Deck the Halls with Paper-Mache

First and foremost, thank you to everyone who shopped small with us this Small Business Saturday and for those of you who shopped small elsewhere, too. We really appreciate our guests and will show that appreciation as we offer specials and improve our service throughout the year. Also, a big congratulations to David & Mary G.; the winners of the $100 Gift Certificate Grab Bag! Spend it well my friends!

Needless to say, Black Friday shopping and Cyber Monday browsing does not change the fact that another Thanksgiving has come and gone. It’s hard to believe Christmas is only 19 days away, especially with the recent bout of warm weather, but the constant barrage of holiday songs on 100.7 does help to serve as a reminder. (P.S. My personal favorite holiday album is still Sugarland’s Gold and Green.) Some people go kicking and screaming into the holiday season, but not us! We’ve got our tree and the kissing balls arrived on Wednesday – PLUS, we’ve decided to make Chocolate Covered Pretzel Wreaths and decorated Sugar Cookies all month long. But fear not my friend, our highly requested peppermint biscotti will be back this holiday season as well as a few holiday breakfast specials! To sum it up, we’ve got the holidays covered here at the Inn.

Now the holidays at my house, that’s a different story. This year, I have decided to jump on the Etsy, Martha Stewart, Real Simple band wagon and pledge to make my own decorations out of leftover magazines, branches, greens, ribbon, and any other DIY materials I can get my hands on. A bit ambitious, perhaps, but it saves some money and makes me feel a little bit better about keeping the decorations up until the end of January because of all of the time that went into making them. So, if you are like me and want a homemade holiday season, here is my documented, step-by-step attempt at making paper-mache Christmas ornaments. My only advice is to wear gloves during the spray painting phase or your hands will forever mimic a blood bath that could rival a scene from Dexter.

Paper-Mache Christmas Ornament Decorations


• Flour
• Water
• Whisk
• Mixing Bowl
• Magazines (or newspapers)
• Balloons
• Red Spray Paint (or whichever color you choose)
• Glitter or Acrylic Paint
• Hooks and Fishing Line

1. Tear up the magazine papers or newspapers into 1 inch strips. You will end up tearing them into smaller pieces as needed later anyway, but this is a good size to start with.
2. Blow up the balloons to the sizes that you want. I did varying sizes, but you can pick and choose to your own liking. It also doesn’t matter if the balloons are not perfect circles. They actually looked pretty authentic with the dimple at the bottom…sort of like an old glass ornament.
3. Mix 1 part flour to 1.5 parts water. So, if you use 2 cups of flour, use 3 cups of water. You probably won’t need more than that amount to do three layers on ten ornaments.
4. Dip the magazine or newspaper strip in the paper-mache mix (flour and water) and scrape any extra mix on the paper with your fingers. You want the paper damp, but not sopping wet with the mix.
5. Holding the balloon by the tied end, lay the strip on the balloon and press it as flat as possible. Continuing doing this with more strips, tearing them smaller as needed to fit the balloon, until you have the entire surface of the balloon covered by one layer of the paper. It’s important to try not to overlap the papers at this step or the drying will take quite some time.
6. Continue to do this for all of the balloons. While waiting for them to dry, I laid them on foil. You can use any non-porous surface. I also used a heater to speed up the drying process, but if you want to go au-natural, give each layer about 24 hours to properly dry.
7. Once the layer has dried, repeat steps 4 – 6 to do a second and eventually third layer. Secret: I only did two layers because I am slightly impatient and it worked rather well, although three layers would have made the ornament much more stable to hold while spray painting and finishing.
8. Using whatever method works for you, spray paint the ornaments evenly, letting each coat dry completely before spraying the next. I eventually hung the paper-mache ornaments on my clothesline and spray painted them while holding a white poster board behind them. I only did two coats, again, I’m impatient, but three coats would probably have looked better.
9. Once they have dried, decorate as you wish. Then, put hooks through the open end and hang as you desire. I used fishing line to hang them in my window as you will see from the photo below.

And that’s it. All in all, I probably would have done a much better job if a. I wasn’t so impatient and b. I didn’t get the stomach flu in the middle of the project, but it was fun and a rather easy arts and crafts project for the holidays. In fact, if you have children, this is a great project to get them involved with and it’s impossible not to get messy while doing this project so they will be sure to love it. Feel free to share your photos if you attempt it or any other DIY projects I can attempt before Christmas gets here.

Happy Crafting,

Your Resident Dexter/Martha Stewart Love Child


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